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Linking To Other Websites

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If I'm not mistaken, outbound links reduces a website's ranking and distributes it to the linked websites, am I correct? If so, how do I control the effects of outbound links?

 

For my blog, I have limited number of people on my blogroll - just those who link to me and those who don't syndicate (i.e. "private" MSN spaces blogs), and I try to limit the links to photo sites of my friends by "converting" my friends to use Flickr.

 

I still have a bunch of other websites I have yet to setup links for... e.g. my profiles on friendster, myspace and okcupid, as well as other websites that I find useful/amusing, but probably not worth hurting my site's ranking on search engines for. Any idea how do I setup a link page that won't hurt my ranking?

 

One solution I am thinking about is putting <meta> tag to tell robots not to follow the links, but I'm not sure whether that will work or not, or if it's the ideal solution. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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Found an interesting article about your outgoing links. Text used to create the link CAN effect your ranking:

http://www.agora-business-center.com/0106links.html

 

and this one specifically recommends outbound links for local searching....

http://seoarticles.seoforgoogle.com/Why-You-Need-Outbound-Links.cfm

 

So, if the links are relevent and written properly, they can be to your benefit!

 

If they are off-topic you may want to segregate them onto a page that uses a meta tag noindex on it and possibly put it in robots.txt for noindex too.

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Does using the noindex meta tag prevent the search engines from using the page for raking purposes?

 

I always assumed that even though they don't index it they still use it for their site ranking. But now I'm questioning that assumption.

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Using the robots.txt file, you can tell the (legit) search engines to bypass certain pages and don't list them. The meta tag for noindex would just reinforce that request. Legit spiders won't visit the page at all if you tell it not to in robots.txt file. If you want the search engine spiders to visit the page and index the links, but not index the page itself, the meta tag on the page itself is used without any statement on the robots.txt file. Meta tag can be 1) index, follow 2) index, nofollow 3) noindex, follow 4) noindex, nofollow depending on YOUR expectation for the page.

 

ZEN-LIKE QUESTION:

If you have said "skip this page" and they do, then how could the links on that page hurt your page rank when there is no page rank to hurt? :) As to how it would impact the whole site, I don't think it should since you have already said that you do not want that page considered, in the appropriate way.

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Hmm.. That makes sense.

 

Thanks Sam.

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There are actually more <meta> tags possible...

 

<meta name="robots" content="index/noindex, follow/nofollow, archive/noarchive" />

"index/noindex" deals with whether or not the page will be indexed for searching.

"follow/nofollow" tells the robot whether or not to follow the links in the page.

"archive/noarchive" determines if your page will be cached by the robot... or rather, whether your page will show a "cached version" in google, at least.

 

<meta name="googlebot" content="index/noindex, follow/nofollow, snippet/nosnippet, archive/noarchive" />

Google offers another function... "snippet/nosnippet". So whether a small snippet will be shown below your link when someone searches and your page comes up as a result.

 

I think I might create a page for the "irrelevant" links like friendster, myspace, etc.

 

By the way, I think there's a "no relation" tag that you can add to links... not quite sure about the exact coding, where it's placed, or how it affects your ranking/score... anyone know much about that?

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I have a couple of comments.

 

First, if you have an awesomely created and ranked page about widgets then links to other sites will not change that unless you have so many links to different topics that you appear to be a free-for-all link farm. What is linked to you and what content is on your page relating to the keywords is what makes your placement on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

 

Second, the first article makes a big deal of a little thing. Of course if you have anchor text that says "flongles sold here" you'll possibly show up in a search for flongles just as if it weren't an anchor. Even if that boost is a bit more as an anchor text, so what? Your SERP position will not change for widgets just because you rank for flongles. Remember that it's not a case of "90% of my rank is widgets and 10% is flongles". It's more like "100% of my rank is for widgets when searching the SEs for widgets and 100% of my rank is for flongles when searching for flongles." They are not mutually exclusive - it's just hard to rank well for both on the same page.

 

Third, the last article seems to be mixing apples and oranges. There are two types of web pages thought to be considered by the search engines - authorities and hubs. Some say that the search engines will consider a page to be one or the other and weight it's ranking based on that. An authority is like most normal web pages... it's thought to be an authority on a topic - say widgets. "If you want to know about widgets you need to go to Bob's site." The other is a hub. Hubs are resources for links to the topic. "If you want to find all the sites about widgets then go to Bill's site - he has tons of links to authorities on the subject." As a hub, the second article Samantha quoted is correct - you do need lots of relevant outbound links. As an authority, if you have a lot of outbound links then you're probably not an authority. The article is right about irrelevant links - it makes you look like a jack of all trades, master of none.

 

Finally, any SEO person that says

The PageRank of the sites on which the inbound links are located, and the anchor text of the links, matter a lot.
scares me because most of the experts say that PageRank is irrelevant at best and possibly a complete lie. I have never seen any correlation between SERP placement and PR... unless he meant SERP rank.

 

I'm no SEO expert, as Mr. Walsh seems to be, but I do spend a lot of time learning the subject and working with my own sites, so take this for what it's worth. Whatever you do, try to verify things people say (me too) about SEO because there are a lot of people flapping their gums, calling themselves experts and they are 100% opposite of what others are saying so one of the two "experts" is stating unfounded opinions, rumors and lies... intentional or not. Decide for yourself which is which. :)

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I'm no SEO expert, as Mr. Walsh seems to be, but I do spend a lot of time learning the subject and working with my own sites, so take this for what it's worth.

 

I could have written this statement.....I should have written this statement. :)

 

In my experience, when a site is new, finding its place on the web, you need to play it as straight as possible (linking to appropriate sites, have well linked relevant sites link to you) to get found and ranked. If you have a great page and have only a couple incoming links, and your page is has irrelevant outgoing links on it, they certainly have strong potential to hurt.

 

Once you have a solid ranking, you can take a few risks with your outgoing links and not have them effect you. As you said a strong page will out-way the few unrelated links, but that only works if you are already established.

 

SEO changes constantly as the search engines themselves change. As people find ways to work the system, they have no choice but to re-engineer the ranking formulas. So even if an article is exactly on point 6 months or a year ago, it may or may not be by current standards. That makes it very easy to have conflicting information on the topic.

 

Consider KEYWORDS. You can still find articles on the web by SEO experts that stress the importance of keywords and how to choose your best 50 for the site. Today putting a few choice keywords into the meta tag and working them into the page text is your best bet, especially since the search engines have gotten away from using the meta tag.

 

And I hate to say this...there are some SEO "experts" that have hung out a shingle charging to "fix/optimize" sites while offering incorrect info that could potentially damage site rankings. A few months ago I assisted in removing some of what an SEO "expert" had charged to do to one site. Could have gotten the site banned from Google and others by using hidden words and other inappropriate techniques.

 

Best thing you can do....Read, Read, Read. Take advice with a dash of skepticism and keep an open mind.

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